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The Spider and the Christmas Tree (A Ukrainian Christmas Story)

December 19, 2014

the spider and the Christmas tree

You’ve probably heard about the German pickle stories where adults hang a pickle in a Christmas tree and the first child that finds it gets an extra gift. Now if you thought that was unique and culturally different, then you ought to know that Ukrainians put spider webs in their Christmas trees.

Now you may be wondering why Ukrainians would do that? Here’s how one of the versions of the legend goes.

The Story of the Spider and the Christmas Tree

There once was a widow who lived in a cramped old hut. She lived with her children. Outside their home was a tall pine tree. From the tree dropped a pine cone that soon started to grow from the soil.

The children were excited about the prospect of having a Christmas tree, and so they tended to it, ensuring that it would continue to grow and be strong until it became tall enough to be a Christmas tree to take inside their home.

Unfortunately, the family was poor and even though they had a Christmas tree, they couldn’t afford to decorate it with ornaments for Christmas. And so on Christmas eve, the widow and her children went to bed knowing that they would have a bare Christmas tree on Christmas morning.
The spiders in the hut heard the sobs of the children and sad cries, and decided they would not leave the Christmas tree bare.

So the spiders created beautiful webs on the Christmas tree, decorating it with elegant and beautiful silky patterns.

When the children woke up early on Christmas morning they were jumping for excitement. They went to their mother and woke her up. “Mother, you have to come see the Christmas tree. It’s so beautiful!”

As the mother woke and stood in front of the tree, she was truly amazed at the sight that lay before her eyes.

One of the children opened up the window as the sun was shining. The sun would slide along the floor and slowly glide up the Christmas tree and onto the webs. As the rays of the sun shone on the tree, the webs turned into glittering silver and gold colour; making the Christmas tree dazzle and sparkle with a magical twinkle.

From that day forward the widow never felt poor, instead she was always grateful for all the wonderful gifts she already had in life.

Spider Webs Can Bring Good Fortune for the New Year

This is why you will see Ukrainians decorate their Christmas tree with a spider web. It’s believed that the webs will bring good fortune and luck for the upcoming year.

Photo courtesy of fiskadoro.

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